Resilient Leicestershire hit back

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The Independent Online

Ben Smith and Darren Maddy hit an unbroken 90 in 11 overs to maintain Leicestershire's 100 per cent record in the Norwich Union League with a five-wicket win against Warwickshire at Edgbaston yesterday.

The First Division leaders appeared to be on the brink of defeat at 132 for 5, but Smith cracked an undefeated 65 from 59 balls in a charge past the Bears' total of 221 for 7 with two overs to spare.

Maddy played the supporting role to perfection with 37 not out from 29 deliveries but survived a difficult chance at long on as Warwickshire slipped in the field.

They had seemed on course for a fourth successive win after two contributions from Dominic Ostler – a half-century from 56 balls and a stunning backward leap to hold a catch at long-on from Daniel Marsh when the Australian was going well on 36.

Vasbert Drakes removed Vince Wells with a one-handed stretch at mid-off and Ashley Giles tumbled forward at long off to dismiss Jon Dakin for 22.

All this heaped pressure on Leicestershire, but once more they showed their resilience after a rebuilding job in Marsh's stand of 51 with Iain Sutcliffe. Even when Sutcliffe fell for 36 to a well-judged catch by Trevor Penney, Smith coolly took charge with five fours and a six.

Greg Blewett and Usman Afzaal warmed up for the Benson and Hedges Cup semi-final at Surrey by hitting half-centuries as Nottinghamshire eased past Somerset. Blewett struck 89 while left-hander Afzaal stroked an unbeaten 94 as Notts cruised home by six wickets with five balls to spare.

The duo broke the back of the Sabres' target of 233 by adding 161 for the third wicket off 31 overs to record a fourth win in six Norwich Union League First Division outings for the Outlaws.

Blewett, who had managed just a single in his last three innings in this competition, took just 111 balls to score his runs with 10 fours while Afzaal's came off 104 balls and included nine boundaries.

The Somerset top order went for their shots from the off and continued to attack even though wickets fell at regular intervals. Peter Bowler was caught behind off the fifth ball from Andrew Harris and when Jason Kerr followed five overs later, Somerset were 22 for 2.

Rather than consolidate, though, England's Marcus Trescothick attacked harder. He raced to 27, but then miscued a drive to mid-off before Richard Stemp came on at the other end an over later and produced a superb spell of slow, left-arm bowling to halt the Somerset run-rate.

Stemp claimed the next four wickets to fall, bowling Mark Lathwell in his first over then beating Ian Blackwell off the pitch to give Chris Read an easy stumping.

Thanks largely to Stemp, between the 30th and 40th overs, the visitors added only 46 runs, but the scoring came with a rush at the end courtesy of Richard Johnson and Keith Parsons.

Glamorgan reeled off their fourth successive victory in the Norwich Union League Second Division when the target of 306 to win proved too great for Worcestershire at Cardiff.

The home side batted first and scored a massive 305 for 6 wickets – their highest-ever total in a 45-over innings. It was led by the Australian Jimmy Maher, who cracked a splendid 94 from 76 balls with 18 boundaries.

The visitors fielded poorly. Despite a solid 40 by David Leatherdale, who was beautifully taken by Adrian Dale on the boundary, Worcestershire fell for 194 to leave Glamorgan victorious by 111 runs.

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